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What are the important cultural differences between Canada and the US?


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Just now, Michael Hardner said:

I know... but soon it will be too late, or other somesuch doomsday scenario... 

Don't get me started about the Irish.

Anyway, back on topic - there are more French Canadians than French Americans although French is the #2 language in Maine.

 

Quebec was a handy place to send the other son....and a good place to flee to if Robespierre had your number.

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Canada's relationship with the US is fairly typical of a small (by population) country next to a larger one that speaks the same (or similar) language. You'll find the same anxiety of influence in Ireland, Belgium, Pakistan and New Zealand. 

BTW HP is originally British, not American, although it is now produced by Heinz in the Netherlands. I am an avid consumer.

Superficially, the two countries are very similar but Canadian values are not as far out on the individualistic and religious side: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness versus peace, order and good government. We are closer to Western Europe when it comes to religion, taxes, government etc. Broadly speaking, you can see a similar, gradual change in US values as you move north and to the east and west coasts. Lord knows what the global smartphone/internet experiment will do to both cultures.

 

  

 

 

Edited by SpankyMcFarland
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On 4/18/2017 at 3:10 PM, Queenmandy85 said:

Canada has a centre of the Universe (Toronto) while the U.S. power is less centralized.

Americans look inward and Canadians look to the U.S.

We have New York. And we don't really look inward.

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when I am asked the difference working in other countries, I have three standard replies:

1.  An American will arrive in your country loudly proclaiming what you must do to conclude a deal, he will want to sign a contract and go back to his American chain hotel and wonder why you would be so stupid as not to want to be just like him.   A Canadian will arrive and just listen to what you have to say for a while, try to understand your use of whatever language you share, try to understand your culture - usually by living among locals, gain your trust and try to structure a deal where everyone comes out with something they want.

2.  In any crowd of business people:  the Yank will be the loud one and the Canuck will be the one with no balls.

3.  (Of companies travelling the world)  Every American company will tell you that they are the best in the world at what they do - and a few percent of them actually are.   A Canadian company will apologize for being Canadian, but will, maybe one of the 3 times, actually BE world caliber and at or near the top of the heap.  The reason is:  Canadians for the most part actually follow the rules in both business and science.  American follow only the money.

 

Edited by cannuck
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I probably shouldn't have said nationalistic like that, my apologies.  Actually, it sounds like US businessmen are a bit...cocky perhaps? Now that I think of that it wouldn't surprise me.  Especially from what my father told me about the people who now run Verizon.  They seem to like "confidence" (an admirable trait if channeled in the right direction) but perhaps it goes too far among American businessmen.

My father worked for the phone company, now Verizon.  He said that the guys now running it are real arrogant dickheads.  If it's not like that in Canada, I'd rather work in Canadian business any day than down here.

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as an addendum: when Bell Atlantic, he said, merged with Nynex (the NY/New Eng. baby bell) he said the New Yorkers took over, and they had no idea of the "culture" down here in Maryland area.  I don't have any big business experience of my own but it seems to me that it depends on what part of the US a given businessman is from.  Down in the south it is said people are more passive, in the northeast, more aggressive.

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9 minutes ago, JamesHackerMP said:

  Down in the south it is said people are more passive, in the northeast, more aggressive.

"it is said" or in other words "some people said something"

Look, not all generalizations are false but I have worked with/for dozens of American and Canadian businesses, non-profits, and government entities.

Certain things do indicate what kind of environment you will be in: type of business, size of company, startup vs. old/big/institutional company, and *maybe* to an extent where they are from

But American vs. Canadian is not a thing in my books, nor is region.  Each company creates its own culture that supercedes the one outside its walls - at least in N. America.

I haven't worked very much at all with European, Asian, African, Australian or Antarctic firms.

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2 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

as an addendum: when Bell Atlantic, he said, merged with Nynex (the NY/New Eng. baby bell) he said the New Yorkers took over, and they had no idea of the "culture" down here in Maryland area.  I don't have any big business experience of my own but it seems to me that it depends on what part of the US a given businessman is from.  Down in the south it is said people are more passive, in the northeast, more aggressive.

 

I would agree that regional U.S. differences exist, but it transcends business to many other organizations, environment, and culture.   The northeastern U.S. from Boston to Philadelphia is legendary for aggressive individuals and expectations in business, politics...even religion.   Sports fans also reflect such attitudes in different U.S. cities from region to region.   The midwest has a focused but more passive reputation, while west coast attitudes can seem flakey and narcissistic at times.

In the U.S. military, there is a marked difference in organizational attitudes from east coast to the west coast/Hawaii/Alaska, which some say if reflective of the distance from Washington, D.C.    Years ago, I found military commands on the west coast to be far more lax than in the east.

Even hip-hop has its legendary east vs. west coast battles (Biggie vs. Tupac).  The U.S. south has come into its own as population shifts favour relocations there.

My experience with Canadians in business (mostly IT) is that they were usually competent, but most disliked conflict and the blunt directness of Americans.  This is a common refrain for many other nationals when dealing with Americans, reinforced by popular media.

 

 

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On 2017-03-18 at 0:53 PM, Rue said:

Yah know them both. So you understand Shwarz's, real bagels, real pastrami and the religious significance of Grecian hair formula . Its hard to explain it to the pagans on this forum. I mean they these people in Toronto named a hockey team after something Adam used to hide his pee pee. Weird people. Speaking about beavers, I have nothing against beavers, really I don't but as the national animal compared to a bald eagle, well, I would have preferred toe Canada Lynxx, the Cougar, the wolf,  the wolverine,  even the Snowy Owl, but a beaver? Fat, buck-toothed, and a rodent? I would have even gone with the Moose, but I know Taxme has a thing about big nostrils and big noses so I guess it worked out.

 

Beaver: small unassuming animal who though quiet hard work is able to alter the course of rivers and change entire ecosystems.  Seems pretty good to me.

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On 11/07/2017 at 7:11 PM, Michael Hardner said:

"it is said" or in other words "some people said something"

Look, not all generalizations are false but I have worked with/for dozens of American and Canadian businesses, non-profits, and government entities.

Certain things do indicate what kind of environment you will be in: type of business, size of company, startup vs. old/big/institutional company, and *maybe* to an extent where they are from

But American vs. Canadian is not a thing in my books, nor is region.  Each company creates its own culture that supercedes the one outside its walls - at least in N. America.

I haven't worked very much at all with European, Asian, African, Australian or Antarctic firms.

Agreed. Business people are agressive/non agressive due to industry, not locale. 

I work for a very large Japanese company. My uncle was a VP for Bell. Many of the business practices utilized by the Japanese have been implemented. I'm aware of many large American corporationa that have done likewise. Globalization at work.

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On 9/11/2017 at 6:44 AM, drummindiver said:

Agreed. Business people are agressive/non agressive due to industry, not locale. 

I work for a very large Japanese company. My uncle was a VP for Bell. Many of the business practices utilized by the Japanese have been implemented. I'm aware of many large American corporationa that have done likewise. Globalization at work.

Usually with disastrous results.  Japanese business works in Japan because the policies and practices evolved to deal with the distinct culture of Japan.   It simply won't work within the culture of North America.

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22 hours ago, cannuck said:

Usually with disastrous results.  Japanese business works in Japan because the policies and practices evolved to deal with the distinct culture of Japan.   It simply won't work within the culture of North America.

FIFO,Kaizen and many other practices do work. The big 3 have seen they couldnt keep doing business the same way and have become almost identical to the Japanese.

You are right the cultural differences preclude many workers from buying in.

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Drummindiver:  Kaizen "works" only to the extent that it re-introduced the kinds of management that were practiced when business was run by business owners to a generation of IDIOTS trained by universities as "MBA"s etc.   It is hardly something invented by or practiced only in Japan.   It works there and in limited situations here because of the inability for personal initiative to prevail or survive within Japanese culture.  You simply can't dictate something to a group, you must first go in endless circles until the group reaches some kind of consensus - which can never be challenged.   It suits manufacturing well, as decisions have already been made (equivalent of consensus being reached) and you merely have to have some mindless group-think to administratively keep things moving.   It is literally what cost them the war - essentially believing your own bullshit when you as an inividual know it is wrong.

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11 hours ago, Flint said:

Something for the people and nothing for the people, that is the difference in my opinion socialism vs. capitalism.

I'm going to assume you're claiming that Canada is closer to socialism and America is closer to capitalism? Neither exist purely, they work in conjunction. As I understand our system, it works in a weird way that combines socialism, or maybe you can call it welfare, with capitalism. But trying to distinguish the two from each other in this way is far too extreme.

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